Sulapac - Plastic waste problem drives cosmetics manufacturers to move towards biodegradable packaging
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GCCA Later Stage Award 2017 Top 10 company Sulapac has created a fully biodegradable premium eco-packaging
A truckload of plastic waste ends up into the oceans every minute. If this information made you feel uncomfortable, it is exactly what happened to Suvi Haimi and Laura Kyllönen, two Finnish biochemist researchers who swapped their academic careers to entrepreneurship.
– We both use ecological cosmetics in our everyday life and wondered, why on earth even ecological products were sold in plastic packaging, says Suvi Haimi, the CEO of Sulapac.
There are already close to 9 billion tons of plastics somewhere on the surface of the earth. Astonishing 6,3 billion tons of the amount has already transformed into plastic waste. The core of the problem is that while plastic can be very useful on a short time span, there are no ways to get rid of the microplastics.
This is why we need doers like Haimi and Kyllönen, who begun product development, made a breakthrough and founded a startup that was named Sulapac according to the forenames of the co-founders. The company develops ecological packaging, which fulfills the requirements of the global cosmetics industry and combines functional sustainable packaging with beautiful Nordic design.
– It is the first fully biodegradable package which is also water- and oil resistant and does not allow oxygen penetration, Haimi explains.
– Our first mission is to grow in the cosmetics sector and other luxury packaging such as jewellery and watches. Next, we plan to expand to premium food packaging segment as well, Haimi describes.
Sulapac packages are made of renewable natural wood chips and other biodegradable biomaterials. Through Haimi’s and Kyllönen’s innovative material, the packages can be manufactured using injection moulding and extrusion techniques, the same technology used to manufacture traditional plastic packaging. Yet the touch of the elegant packages is close to ceramic and the unique wooden appearance seems like an exclamation mark highlighting the sustainability.
– While the design and the touch of the packages are premium quality, Sulapac uses wood only from sustainably managed Nordic forests. The material contains no harmful components and it has a low carbon footprint too, CTO of the company Laura Kyllönen states.
Sulapac works with known Nordic designers to create individual packaging concepts for the global brand owners. The material allows basically unlimited design possibilities. Their own Sulapac® Nordic Collection follows clear and minimalistic Nordic design heritage. The minimalistic design is not only beautiful, but it also allows for various customisation options for brand owners.
– Packaging has an important role when the consumer is choosing a product. In addition to attractive appearance, consumers are demanding for more sustainable alternatives. We want to make it easy and simple for companies to adopt a new sustainable package for their products. We can replace the existing design with our material or develop a completely new solution, Suvi Haimi concludes.
One could forecast booming demand for biodegradable packages as the awareness of the global plastic waste issue increases. At least Sulapac’s work has already been recognized: the company just won the Sustainable Packaging category at the Sustainable Beauty Awards in Paris and was selected as the winner of the Green Alley circular economy innovation competition in Berlin. Few months earlier, Sulapac was also handed the title of the best green packaging solution at the Luxe Pack packaging event in Monaco.
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